Monday, January 10, 2011

WHY I BELIEVE PEOPLE THINK MATHS IS BORING.

Have you found yourself doing maths while walking on the road? Sometimes I do, especially when I am looking for some distraction.

These are some of the facts I discovered on the road: that the sum of the numbers on most plate numbers fall between the numbers fifteen (15) and nineteen (19). Some eccentricity, right? I also found that it takes me thirty-eight minutes to walk from home to the market where I trade, on a very good day and when I want to walk fast, and fifty minutes on a bad day when I am just slouching it.

What about you? Maths does not need to be boring if you find creative ways of playing with numbers and keeping yourself busy.

Unfortunately, I have found out that people think it is boring because of its reliance on tradition. Tradition, as well all know, are stamped on time and do not easily change. That is the way with maths and mathematical equations. Not only the equations, the way maths is done itself.

Sometimes, you also find that the subject seems closed to outside influence or
changes. Maths deals with numbers and numbers only. Although so many disciplines play with maths, maths plays only with numbers and manipulation of numbers. It’s so unlike psychology, or linguistics, where you deal with laws that can be borrowed from even mathematics, physics, biology etc. Maths is like a foundation to every other field and how often do you want to change your foundations? Hardly.
Also, many persons rarely use maths after the high school, and if they do use it often in business, it is confined to the knowledge from high school and a little from college. So because at this stage of their life many young persons are inexperienced and are more taken to elegant, fashionable, or chic subjects, they throw maths to the background and stamp it the label, BORING. The teachers are also not helping matters. I think this will be the subject of another blog. I do not have to recall how many times I had a teacher at the class during my high school days? Not more than a month in a semester. Well, this will be the subject of another blog.

we could go on and on about why the uptake of maths is so deficient that one wonders whether Nigerians are interested in science and technology?


One of the ways I have found one can play with maths and remove the boredom is playing the game of Sudoku. You can find it daily on the back pages of punch newspapers. It’s really an entertaining game. During my teaching days, I try to de-emphasize the maths and emphasis the foundation character of mathematics. Rather than teach a boring lecture of longitudes and latitudes, I want to color every section and most examples with how applicable this subject was to Ferdinard Magellan, how google maps would not be possible without it, neither would the modern gps systems you can find even on your mobile devices. How many students know that the popular Photoshop graphics drawing program relies on matrices? Do you know that most banks do not like paying interest in savings accounts, which is against the law, but with a little knowledge of simple interests and compound interests you’d be in a position to question this lawlessness, if and when it applies to you?
What is your take on this subject? Does anyone have creative ways of playing with maths? How beautiful if we can share it.

follow me on twitter, @emeka_david

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